Early last year Kia invited me to Tuscany for the launch of their new 3rd generation Picanto, as you can read here, I had a great time, not because I was in Italy, but the Picanto itself was fun, agile and a great little car to drive.
A year later, and the latest addition to the Picanto range, the All-New Picanto X-Line hits the showrooms, and is hoped to further broaden the appeal of Kia’s city car.
The X-Line is the latest small car to be given the crossover / SUV look, with rugged bumpers, faux front and rear skid plates and an increased ground clearance. It certainly has a chunkier look, in fact the X-Line is 75mm longer, 30mm wider and 15mm taller than a standard model.
To make it stand out further, Kia have given the grille and fog lamp surrounds lime green highlights and darkened glass at the rear. Amongst other subtle additions, twin exhaust pipes, 16” alloy wheels and plastic wheel arches set off the look. If I have one complaint, it’s that I wish Kia had opted for wider wheels to give the X-Line a better, more balanced stance to go with its rugged look.
Inside you’ll find splashes of colour with lime green stitching on the flat-bottomed steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and armrests, overall the Picanto’s interior has a much nicer feel to it than some of its rivals. Kia have included a large 7.0-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen features DAB radio, as well as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for full smartphone integration. There’s also the addition of cruise control with speed limiter, automatic air conditioning and keyless entry.
Zooming along the snowy lanes around Marlow and Henley-on-Thames, the little Picanto handled just as well as I remembered from Italy, it certainly put a smile on my face as I threw it around corners! Someone mentioned that the 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/45 R16 tyres spoilt the ride, but I didn’t notice a difference, but then it’s been nearly 12-months since I last drove a standard one.
Kia are rightly proud of the new Picanto as it’s the safest A-segment car they’ve ever made. It features a host safety features including 6 standard airbags, Vehicle Stability Management with Electronic Stability Control and Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard. Have I mentioned Torque Vectoring and Hill-start Assist Control? Yeah, it has those too.
At this point you may be thinking of buying an X-Line to enjoy the odd green lane, don’t. Underneath its butch exterior lies a standard front wheel drive Picanto with the punchy 1.25-ltr petrol engine and 5-speed manual gearbox, or 4-speed automatic if you’re that way inclined.
Prices start at £12,595 for the X-Line, and for me at least, the Picanto remains one of the most competitively priced cars of its type, it’s also a hoot to drive!